11 Nov 2011

Public libraries are pointless...

because 1) middle-class liberals keep libraries open not for themselves, but for the less fortunate, 2) fewer than one in five adults in England go more than once a month, 3) access to information has been transformed by the internet, 4) we live in an information-rich society as it is 5) everything's digital now anyway, 6) they're way to expensive to maintain.

But hang on a sec. because...

1) the public library is a free and open information centre 2) it's an educational center, 3) it's a digital access center, 4) it's a computer center, 5) it's a community center.

There is no doubt that the public library service must adapt to swiftly changing information environments and user behaviours. The unique selling point of the public library rests in transforming itself from a static information resource repository into vibrant and diversfied education hubs: hotbeds of free and unlimited access to librarian expertise, information, knowledge, education.

1 comment:

  1. I would love to see public libraries really embrace concepts like e-learning and become public spaces for knowledge sharing and transfer - leaning towards the services that academic libraries offer but in a more accessible and informal way which is rooted in the community. As public libraries adapt, I feel marketing and promotion will be crucial in order to encourage former users to re-engage with the 'new' library, and to move beyond the idea that it is only a place for borrowing (printed) books.

    However, I feel that (unfortunately!) librarians are even more under threat than libraries. This is a poorly presented argument in the LA Times (http://bit.ly/spoWck), but no doubt others would agree with the central idea: that libraries are important as community, cultural, educational and research centres, but do we really need librarians?